(Money Metals Exchange) President Joe Biden indicated he wants to raise the capital gains tax to a top nominal rate of 39.6%. That would be combined with a surtax on investment income to produce an effective rate of 43.4% for some taxpayers. And investors who are unfortunate enough to live in a high-tax state like New York, Illinois, or California would face a total tax on investments of well over 50%.
Punishingly high tax rates represent a big disincentive for wealth holders to continue putting capital at risk in the stock market. And some may now be inclined to sell before higher rates kick in.
Given the 50/50 split in the U.S. Senate, the Biden administration would likely be unable to ram through its tax hike proposal as is. At least one moderate Democrat, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, has indicated he would prefer a smaller tax increase.
But political risks on the tax front could increase after the 2022 mid-term election, depending on how that goes. With a record-high budget deficit projected for the current year, Congress will likely grow hungrier for revenues.
Against this backdrop, prospects for making federal taxation of precious metals fairer seem dim. The IRS has arbitrarily determined that gains on bullion investments fall under the “collectibles” category and are ineligible for the more favorable long-term capital gains treatment applied to stocks.
Clearly, Wall Street has more political sway on Capitol Hill than the sound money movement. But sound money advocates are making progress at the state level.
The Arkansas Senate just overwhelmingly approved a bill to remove sales and use tax on purchases of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium coins and bullion products. Arkansas Senators voted 30-1 to pass this measure onto the Arkansas House of Representatives.
This measure is one of many sound money bills being introduced across the country this year. Bills to remove taxation on sound, constitutional money are also being, or have been, introduced in Alabama, Hawaii, Iowa, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Ohio.
The Ohio House of Representatives has approved a bill which helps Buckeye State citizens protect themselves from the loss of monetary purchasing power caused by federal money printing. The bill includes a provision to eliminate the sales and use tax on purchases of bullion products in Ohio.
It would reverse Ohio’s recent repeal of a longstanding sales tax exemption on the sale of precious metals. Seeing the harm caused to in-state businesses, tourism dollars, and Ohio investors, lawmakers now seek to reinstate the exemption.
This is no surprise. In 2016, Louisiana politicians experimented briefly with slapping sales taxes on precious metals purchases. They quickly reversed course only one year later – and reinstated the exemption on precious metals – because businesses, coin conventions, and state tax revenues were leaving the state.
Sales taxes are typically levied on final consumer goods. Computers, shirts, and shoes carry sales taxes because the consumer is “consuming” the good. Gold and silver are held as forms of savings and investment.
Many who buy precious metals do so in small increments as a way of holding some wealth outside the financial system and protecting it from inflation. For the same reasons, gold and silver are also held by billionaires and large institutions.
Even those among the wealthy who aren’t gold bugs at heart see the wisdom of including tangible assets in their portfolios.
Businessman Kevin O’Leary of “Shark Tank” fame is known for investing in up-and-coming enterprises. But he revealed in a recent interview with Stansberry Research that he also owns gold.
The reasons for owning gold and silver seem to grow by the day with everything that is going on in Washington and all the accumulating negatives for the U.S. dollar.
This week, the Biden administration aggressively pushed its version of a Green New Deal. Their plans for dealing with the perceived climate crisis entail a radical transformation of the entire U.S. economy.
In remarks Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen vowed to take a “whole-of-economy approach” to moving the U.S. toward net-zero emissions. That would entail a massive reduction in conventional energy usage and massive government-directed reallocation of resources.
Switching from gasoline-burning engines to battery-powered motors on an increasingly large scale will have profound implications for investors. The electrification thesis depends crucially on metals including copper, nickel, lithium, and silver remaining plentiful and affordable.
Over the past year, many of these metals have skyrocketed in price. They could skyrocket further on rising demand and diminishing reserves – not to mention the inflationary policies of the Biden administration and the Federal Reserve.
Silver is both a monetary metal and a Green energy metal – used in everything from solar panels to electric vehicle motors to battery charging stations. It could prove to be one of the best investments for the times ahead.